Critical Thinking

A Rude Awakening


Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt 7:22-23).

O Boy, many people are in for a rude awakening!  Of course, no one thinks they will be among the “many” that Jesus will tell that He never knew them.  They know that they know that they know that they are saved!!!

But truly, can you really know that you are among the sheep that Jesus spoke of, who know His voice, and who can never be snatched from His hand (John 10:27-28)?  Who wouldn’t want to believe that?  Is there anyone who has believed in Jesus who thinks they are still in danger of hell-fire?  Is there anyone who thinks they are among the goats (Matt 25:31-46)???

Some people are too afraid to question their salvation, maybe because they belong to a fellowship where such thinking is tantamount to heresy!  If you question your salvation, then you are not truly saved, because if you were, you would know!  Or so they are taught.  Rest assured that Christ has done it for you already.  Never mind what you do, as long as you believe in Jesus, your salvation is sure.  Let’s back up a little shall we…

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt 7:21).

Oh, so we must do God’s will to be saved.  Because we are not God, we do not yet know our end…but we have hope and reason to be faithful.  Is there such as thing as eternal security?  Yes.  Can you be sure that you have it?  No, in all honesty.  Paul tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12).  You really can’t do that when you’re SURE!  And Jesus tells us that only those who endure to the end shall be saved (Matt 24:13).  It remains that anyone who thinks he stands needs to take heed lest he falls… (1 Cor 10:12).  Let’s back it up a little more…

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt 7:13-14).

This is as much a message for me as for the next woman or man.  The truth is, though many will be wrong, some of us will be right.  We do know we have eternal life because of the intimacy we share with our Father.  We have a relationship with Him.  We actually know His voice, and we love, obey and follow Him.  We have a quiet confidence in the knowledge of our security in Him.

But it is wrong to teach that everyone can have that confidence, simply by believing in and not by knowing Jesus.  If it doesn’t lead to bearing fruit, if sin is not abhorred in one’s spirit, if Christ is not your life (Phil 1:21), then one can only wonder if such a person truly believes as they say they do.  Moving forward, Jesus continues His teaching…

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.  And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matt 7:24-27).

Let us therefore heed His words.  Let us heed our Brother, James’ admonition to “be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (Jam 1:22).  Perhaps many of these people will realise on that day that Jesus rejects them that they knew all along (in their heart) that they didn’t know Jesus…because they rejected Him first, in preference for religion or popularity or prosperity.  They deceived themselves willingly.  They never truly believed.  They never truly feared God.

Finally, “examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Cor 13:5).  I pray that when I am tested of God, my faith shall be proven to be true, and my works shall be preserved to last (1 Cor 3:13-15).  And I pray the same for you.

Photo credit: http://www.joeybonifacio.com

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11 replies »

  1. Thanks for the invite, Ufuoma. There are some things I have to say in response.

    One, to live a life unsure what your end will be is terrible. It is like holding your breath and tiptoeing to avoid giving cause for rejection. This is what being a Muslim is like. They have an extremely demanding religion that derives its legitimacy from fear. Muhammad himself said that he did not know what his end would be despite his devotion to Allah’s will. Muslims hope that on the day that they meet Allah for judgment, he would not just wholesale throw them into hell despite all their rigorous efforts to be saved. Is this what Christians are called to as well? We are told that we have not received a spirit of fear but one of love, of power and of a sound mind. Fear and uncertainty is not the Christian way.

    Two, Scriptures say without mincing words that God’s Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. There ought not be any reason to wonder what will happen to us in the end. Our destiny is clear. Our walk on earth is not to determine it but to express it. We are citizens of heaven who are holding embassy for heaven on earth. We are not wondering what we are.

    Three, the passages you mentioned are very important. But unless we are going to pit Scriptures against themselves, there must be something in there to connect all of them. I read a link today that I would have shared here but I’ll need to go find it first, so maybe later. The link pointed out that passages like that did not threaten our eternal security, rather they threatened our pursuit of security in everything apart from God. This is true.

    Paul tells us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling because it is God who works in us both to will and to do his good pleasure. This does not mean to work to merit eternal salvation. That is abundantly clear. It means to express in our bodily life what God is doing within us. The fear and trembling part is not terror that threatens us in the way you suppose. It is respectful awe and attention. And it is natural to the believer.

    No believer will find it easy to oppose the working out of the things the Spirit does within him. He will be in a terrible state of stress like there’s a war inside him until he responds as he should. We believers naturally live in awe of God, in worshipful reverence and respect for him.

    Four, about questioning one’s salvation…we are told to test ourselves always to make sure that we are in the faith. Again, that is natural to us. When you walk unworthy of Christ, your renewed conscience will not be still. It will stir up and demand that you look closely at your works and set things straight. That way, we do not take the sacrifice of Christ for granted. But this is not the same as questioning our salvation.

    To question the reality and strength of our salvation is essentially to question the efficacy of the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. How effective was it? What exactly did it accomplish for us? What was the point of his tasting judgment for every sinner? What good did it do for us? Those questions are really what questioning our salvation means. You could consider them for now.

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    • Dear Odii,

      I appreciate you accepting my invitation to read and respond to this post, following our correspondence on TNC. Thanks for taking the time to write out your response.

      I actually feel that you would have been better off ripping Matthew 7 from your Bible and pretending that Jesus never said those things that challenge your belief that everyone who calls on the name of Jesus is indeed saved. Yes, I know the scripture that attests to this…(Romans 10:13) But scripture doesn’t leave us thinking that these people call Him by name alone, but that they respond to Him in obedience and they bear fruit like those who are truly grafted in. When scripture talks of believing, there is an expectation of doing… (James 2:14-26) as evidence. Jesus tells us what becomes of those branches that do not bear fruit: “I am the true vine, and My Father is the keeper of the vineyard. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, and every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes to make it even more fruitful” (John 15:1-2).

      If you’re going to go down the route of cutting out chapters of the Bible that contradict your belief in eternal security for all who proclaim Jesus as Lord, then you might as well rip out John 15 too. And Matthew 25, where Jesus talks about the ten virgins, the talents and the sheep and the goats. Certainly, all ten virgins were sure they knew Jesus! Certainly all that were given talents were sure they would make heaven! Certainly those who were cast out as goats were not expecting to be among that crowd.

      I am not a fear-mongering Christian. I believe that the Law was given by Moses, and Grace and Truth came through Jesus (John 1:17). That revelation is now the focus of my blog. But this teaching that you are sharing is leaving many comfortable in a false sense of security, when they ought to fall at the feet of Jesus!

      You wrote: “to live a life unsure what your end will be is terrible”. We are not called to walk by KNOWLEDGE but by FAITH. By faith, we have hope and we believe. But the one who knows need not apply faith. They are the ones who are absolutely certain. I wrote: “Because we are not God, we do not yet know our end…but we have hope and reason to be faithful.” Yet it remains that the true believers are able to discern their Father’s voice, and follow Jesus – by faith, and will not be led astray (John 10:27-28).

      There is a surplus of scripture, including the few I have cited in my post that brings into correct perspective this teaching of eternal security of the saints. I am not denying that the saints of God are eternally secure… Jesus said concerning His elect: “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders that would deceive even the elect, if that were possible.” I am saying that we all need to examine ourselves to be sure that we are truly saints…so that if we are not, we know how to correct it before we stand before Christ and get the shock of our lives.

      Christian love, Ufuoma.

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      • I think I already expressed a belief in the consistency of the Bible. I don’t believe that there is any contradiction between Scriptures. Where there appears to be a contradiction between two Scriptures, there is always a third that reconciles the apparent contradiction.

        James says that if we believe, our actions will prove it. I already said as much in our conversation on TNC. Our confidence in our eternal destiny can be determined that way: by looking at how we behave.

        As I told you, the doctrine that once you’re saved, your eternal destiny is secure in Christ does not give licence for bad behavior. Because one who has truly been saved will not find sin comfortable. This will be immediately apparent both to them and to people observing them.

        Now, the contention is whether one is saved because they “called upon the name of the Lord”. I clearly already told you that the words spoken and the water dipping do not turn a person into a Christian. It is the gift of God’s Spirit that does.

        Are there people deceiving themselves about their destiny? Yes, are they truly going to be surprised? I warrant that they’re not. Scriptures do not say at all that they will be. It says that they will be disappointed. Why? Because they thought to fool Christ: that is actually what they were deceiving themselves about, not about whether or not they belonged in the Family of Christ. The Bible describes them as “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. They deceive themselves in thinking that they can make it into Christ’s fold like that.

        Such people are the ones who focus on outward rituals that they think are sufficient for making them believers. For true believers, their desire is to be like Christ in behavior so they will never be content with just fulfilling outward requirements. They will always seek conformity in Christ even in the thoughts of their heart.

        If we know this and make our peace with it, we will no longer take issue with the guarantee and security of one’s eternal salvation.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for responding. I feel like we are locked in confusion. The confusion for me originated from your comment on my post on TNC that the convert I had based my story on, whom you knew scarsely anything about the genuinety of their conversion, and those who “respond in a like manner” are eternally saved. My problem remains that you have no basis for such a statement lacking evidence of obedience, impartation of God’s Spirit, and fruit-bearing. It was what brought into question your qualification for those who are saved and sealed in Christ.

        I think we both agree that there is no such thing as being saved temporarily, so eternally saved is also a faulty phrase. You are either saved and being saved or you’re not. And those who are saved are those who respond in real working faith, in obedience to Christ. Christ only promised His communion on those who love and obey Him, and they are the sheep that will never be plucked from His hand.

        What can be said for those who start and do not finish…? I don’t believe they are all wolves in sheep’s clothing. Many are simply goats who didn’t know how to listen and obey and rather did their own thing, thinking that grace would abound… The sheep and the goats walk together, all believing they are secure, but the goats are in for a rude awakening… they will be surprised because Jesus said that they will say in their defence: “didn’t we do this and that in Your name?”. That’s why Paul admonished us to examine ourselves…

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      • There isn’t really any confusion here, Ufuoma. You gave a lot of useful information about that young Christian with what you said. He turned to the Word of God earnestly as a spiritual babe would. He became discerning of behavior as a child of God is. He was saddened and confused by the contradictions he saw as a child of God would be. He responded as one with Christ in him.

        You are wrong about people starting and not finishing. No one will be lost who has turned to Christ. Because Christ has taken responsibility for every last one out there. He put it this way: he would leave the 99 who are safe to go find the 1 that is lost. No one will be lost even when all the forces of hell rise to make sure he or she is. Christ will spare nothing to preserve even the weakest among us.

        Again, we are not “being saved”. We are already saved. We are as much children of God today as we will ever be. What we are doing now is learning to grow into responsible adults in God’s House so that we can run God’s Creation very effectively and productively in the world to come.

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      • Thanks again for your feedback. I think we have cleared up the areas that we have agreement. For the issue of whether or not one can ever be lost after starting, God will answer that for us, if not in this life, the next. I know what I believe and stand on that, and I respect you for standing for what you believe.

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  2. When I look at the list of texts you have chosen here, it amazes me how many have to do with spiritual hearing. Christ is more than just a person, there is a Spirit, an anointing in Christ that leads to spiritual hearing. Religion often teaches us about the person Christ that lived a couple thousand years ago, but denies the anointing, His voice, that lives within us if we open up to it.
    The main thing in acting is where does the action come from. Does it come from me thinking I know Christ’s will, or does it come from Christ’s Word inside, where I actually know it and am animated by it?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi ART,

    Thanks for commenting. Which of the verses do you think are about spiritual hearing? I can only think of two.

    Your last point about where action comes from resounds with me. Sometimes I feel like I’m trying to be like Christ, rather than Christ working freely through me. I guess it is the hindrance of the flesh that we continually wrestle with.

    Cheers, Ufuoma.

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  4. Indeed the passage quoted at the beginning of the article is a rude awakening to especially those who have received Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. However, they need to understand that:
    1. Accepting the Lord is one thing and having a relationship with Him is another. By having a relationship; spending time with Him, can you know His will and do accordingly. Also by spending time with Him will one have a change of opinion about life in general, whereby what matters to you is of the kingdom and not of this earth.
    2. For believers they need to know that they are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, i.e no condemnation wherever and whatsoever. Rather, freely and confidently can they come to God.
    3. God is love and as believers they need to live in love just as the One whom they call father is. Believers are the branches linked to the Vine; it is expected that we bear fruit, but this can only be done by abiding in Jesus; the Vine.

    In conclusion, I want to encourage us to read John 15 vs. 1-10, for it will help with our understanding of what God expects from us and most importantly how we can achieve it.

    Another powerful message Ufuoma. Keep the fire burning!
    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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